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University of Cornwall News

15th January 1998

The following article appeared in today's The Cornishman:

'Ineptitude' attack on leading university objector

"It's hard to see how his campaign can have serious authority"

By Joyce Channon
Chief Reporter

THE man behind the bid to stop the proposed £30 million university campus being built in Penzance has been described as "displaying ineptitude in the extreme with his flawed arguments."

Taking Mr. Timothy James to task over his comments in last week's Cornishman is local councillor, John Payne, a driving force in the campaign to get the campus sited in the town.

And he is not alone. He has been joined in his criticism by Douglas Cook, of Newmill, who has condemned "small groups of people trying to fight rearguard actions to change what has already been decided."

Mr. Cook says: "it would be a pity if the report gives the impression that there is now a strong movement against the Trereife site for a University of Cornwall. I am sure that support for the campus has not altered. If anything I believe it has strengthened, although I am sure there has been a great feeling of disappointment and indeed anger at the way the application was handled by the Millennium Commission."

He points out that the present situation is precarious enough - "without small groups of people trying to fight rearguard actions to change what has already been decided, and thus threaten even the possibility of a reduced scale initial development."

Comparing Mr. James' s 60-strong group to the massive local support for the initiative, Mr. Cook says it is hard to see how his campaign can have any serious authority, and stresses that it is vital that Penwith Council ensures that the opportunity to acquire the Trereife site, is not missed.

"It will," he adds, "be tragic if the benefits offered are spoiled by a failure to keep up the pressure and breadth of support needed to bring the venture to success."

Mr Payne challenges Mr James's statement that the Trereife site is too small, reminding him that it has not mysteriously shrunk from its curtilage of 80 acres - which is far in excess of the minimum required by the University. "Given that Mr James has a residence at Heamoor I would have thought he would be aware of that, says Mr. Payne.

"Secondly," he goes on, "he questions the need for Camborne School of Mines to relocate. As it is an integral part of the Exeter University structure, it is natural that it should, and by so doing will benefit as its growth at Pool is restrained and fettered, inherent by site restrictions. How he can allege that it is being poached when it is itself the gamekeeper, I fail to see. It merely wishes to mirror its own growth with that of the University.

"Thirdly, Mr James alludes that Trereife is too far west while at the same time envisaging Cornwall College dispersing itself through the county. Penzance has excellent transport links, unlike Camborne, where to coin a phrase from a well-known comedian 'Few trains stop any day let alone Wednesday.'"

Mr.Payne says that St Ives MP, Andrew George has it exactly right when he stresses the need for a physical University presence and not an internet site. He concludes: "Mr. James's group may boast 60 supporters, but we can boast Trelawney's real army, with petitions exceeding 23,000, together with endorsements which continue to roll in from prominent figures in the county including Kerrier.

"At this stage these I am not revealing as it would be like handing a 14lb hammer to a so committed a 'Luddite' as Mr. James. He states he is confident of winning, well, so was Walter Winterbottom in England soccer teams when they faced the US in the 1950 World Cup and lost 1-0.

"Save to say, we have no fear of closet coverts, but have our endeavours renewed by the words of Charles Stuart Parnell -'No one man has the right to fix a boundary to the march of a nation.'"

Copyright © Cornish Weekly Newspapers Ltd 1998

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